Painting proven a fake
A painting long thought to be the work of Dutch master Vincent van Gogh has been proven a fake after a series of tests by art experts in Amsterdam, Australian gallery officials said on Friday. The painting, titled Head of a Man, has been in the possession of the National Gallery of Victoria in Australia's second largest city of Melbourne since 1940 and was estimated to have been worth A$25 million (US$21.4 million) if authentic. Gallery officials Friday said while they were disappointed at the finding, experts at the van Gogh museum in Amsterdam found the work was painted during the artist's lifetime, although it had stylistic differences to van Gogh's work.
Indonesian fish banned
Aquatic products from Indonesia have been temporarily banned after bacteria and chemicals were found in excessive amounts in some imports from the Southeast Asian nation, state media said yesterday. All fish and other seafood products from Indonesia must be returned or destroyed, and those that have already entered the market must be checked again, the Beijing Times reported. The rule was introduced by the General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine, which cited various instances of tainted products, including salmonella in Indonesian eel.
Peak closed to recover
Tourism authorities have closed one of the peaks on popular tourist attraction Huangshan mountain for three years to allow vegetation to recover from the hordes of tourists who visit the UNESCO World Heritage Site. The barring of visitors to Danxia Feng, or "Purple Cloud Peak," is part of a revolving series of closures of sites on the mountain, located in Anhui Province, about 1,200km south of Beijing. Another of the mountain's scenic spots, Shixin Peak, reopened to tourists on July 1 after authorities restored trees and shrubs. In a brief report last Sunday, the official China Daily newspaper called the closure the "latest move to protect one of China's World Heritage Sites."
Pandas to be loaned to Spain
The government will fly a pair of giant pandas to Spain next month, state media reported yesterday, following through on a goodwill gesture promised during a visit by Spanish King Juan Carlos to Beijing earlier this year. The pair, seven-year old "Bingxing" and four-year old "Huazuiba" will be flown from their home in the southwestern city of Chengdu to Madrid on Sept. 8 by chartered plane for a 10 year stay, the Xinhua news agency said. The pair are due to go on display two weeks after their arrival.
Cars fight drunk driving
Beer-breaths beware. A new concept car with breathalyzer-like detection systems may provide even greater traction for efforts to keep impaired drivers off the road. Nissan's alcohol-detection sensors check odor, sweat and driver awareness, issuing a voice alert from the navigation system and locking up the ignition if necessary. Odor sensors on the driver and passenger seats read alcohol levels, while a detector in the gear-shift knob measures the perspiration of the driver's palm when starting the car. Other carmakers with detection systems include Sweden's Volvo, which has developed technology in which drivers blow into a measuring unit in the seat belt before an engine can start.
■ UNITED KINGDOM